Encouraging young gardeners

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UNDER 10s: Allow them to get dirty and have fun.

WHETHER there will be attractive gardens in Spain in the future depends to a great extent on whether today’s under 10s are encouraged to get involved in gardening.

Some schools do have gardening clubs, but they are often half-hearted affairs to fill club time and in Spanish kindergartens there is a good eating activity in May each year, but it doesn’t go as far as stimulating the growing of one’s own fruit and veg.

Whether you or a schoolteacher are supervising a school gardening club, guide your children through the initial learning stages as there are a number of success factors:

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1.            Give them a prominent position for their mini garden so that they realise you see their efforts as important and to encourage them to take pride in their efforts. Why not use part of the gardens at the entrance to the school rather than an out of sight corner of the playground?

2.            Ensure the soil in their mini gardens or raised beds is of sufficient depth and good quality – fertile, water absorbing and free draining.

3.            Make gardening books available and also UK sourced flower and seed catalogues that have photographs. Some listed in our books are available on the internet.

4.            Take them to garden centres and let them buy plants and seeds themselves.

5.            Provide lightweight easy to use tools without sharp edges.

6.            Provide a small watering can but also help them to fix up a simple irrigation system.

7.            Allow them to get dirty and have fun. Getting dirty can build up their immune systems.

8.            Help them choose easy to grow flowers, vegetables and fruit.

9.            Encourage them to harvest their own vegetables for salads and sandwiches.

10.          Get them to realise that plants need regular ongoing care like a pet.

11.          Help them relate to what is happening in their garden with the theories learned in science classes.

12.          Make ecological fertilizers, insecticides and fungicides available.

13.          Show interest.

If you have already made good progress along these lines send an email including one or two photographs to gardening [email protected]

The best email will earn the school gardening club a set of books.

© Dick Handscombe www.gardenspain.com March 2015

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